tv Meet the Press NBC July 12, 2010 3:30am-4:30am EDT
i'm lester holt. good night. >> this sunday, america's summer of frustration. the economy, the oil spill, immigration, the war in afghanistan. is it the obama administration falling short or are expectations simply too high? i'll ask our exclusive guest this morning, white house press secretary robert gibbs. then, our ongoing focus on decision 2010. the key races and the key debates over economic stimulus, energy and national security. as the president tries to frame the fall debate between republicans and democrats. >> the choice bean falling
backwards or moving forward. >> our political round table weighs in. msnbc's rachel maddow back from an up close reporting tour in afghanistan. "the new york times" columnist david brooks. former democratic congressman harold ford and ed gillespie, former white house counselor and chairman of the republican party. finally, it's our "meet the press minute" after this week's spy swap with russia, a look back at the spy games of old and the confessions of a soviet spy 57 years ago. captions paid for by nbc-universal television >> announcer: from nbc news in washington, "meet the press with david gregory. another attempt by bp to contain the oil spill in the gulf of mexico. the cap was removed to replace it with an improved version to
catch all of the oil. the oil is flowing freely into the gulf. joining you for an exclusive interview, white house press secretary robert gibbs. welcome back to "meet the press." >> how are you? >> this developing story is one you are tracking closely. the president said by the end of june we would see containment of the oil. what's happening now and what level of concern does it give you or optimism does it give you? >> we're in a critical point in the containment efforts. the sealing cap will double our capacity. there's another procedure called helix that could take 25,000 barrels a day out. that should be online later today. the time line got pushed backwards because of hurricane and tropical weather in the gulf that made things more difficult. understand that we were pulling 25,000 barrels of oil a day in a containment procedure. when all of this is online, the cap, the helix, the q-4,000
burning oil as we speak, we'll have a containment procedure between 60,000 and 80,000 barrels of oil a day. the sealing cap will also help in the next step and that will be getting the relief well finished, shoving the mud and cement down, both the relief well and through the blowout preverpr preventer and sealing that leak once and for all. thad allen and our coordinator approved bp going ahead with the procedures they're working on now. those pictures again -- the top hat that's been on there for several weeks that collected 700,000 barrels of oil is off but the new containment procedure will more than triple our capacity when it's all said and done. >> let me talk about politics and the president's campaigning in effect. october in july in some ways. president on the campaign trail this week. he attempted to frame the debate for the fall. he was in kansas city, missouri, on thursday and this is what he
said. >> you're going to face a choice in november. i want everybody to be very clear about what that choice is. there's a choice between the policies that got us into this mess in the first place and the policies that are getting us out of this mess. >> policies getting out of this mess is the claim. those are president's policies. that's what democrats would be running on. yet this is where the public is. the president's approval rating is upside down according to our most recent poll approving 45%. disapproving 48%. and in a sense of whether the country son tis on the right tr 62% in our poll saying it's off on the wrong track. contrary to what the president is saying, the public seems to be in a different place. >> it's not surprising that the american people are frustrated after having lost 8.5 million jobs. but that's the argument he's making. understand the last six months of 2008, right, we saw an economy that shed 3 million jobs.
the first six months of 2010 this economy has created 600,000 private sector jobs. the point the president was making and the point the president will make this fall, do you want to go backward to an economy that led news this mess that saw the greatest financial clamtty since the great depression and turned record surplus into record deficits or continue on the track the president put us on that's creating private sector jobs. the president will travel to holland, michigan. everyone in this country knows michigan is home to auto manufacturing in a big way. what the president is going to go visit is battery plants. this will be ground breaking providing batteries for the chevy volt, an electric car that will get 100 miles on a single charge. this is the ninth of nine as a result of that recovery act. just in 2010, we produced 2% of
the world's advanced batteries. to produce something like the chevy volt, we needed batteries from overseas. in just five years, by 2015, we'll manufacture 40% of the world's batteries. that creates the jobs of tomorrow. we have a choice. are we going to go back to the movie we have already seen and know the results or look forward? >> you are talking about a future market for an energy independent market which is certainly very important. there's a lot of agreement about that. the president is talking about his particular record that he wants to run on. there are some facts. we know that private sector hiring has been extremely flat. we know that the mortgage market is still a mess after that first-time tax credit was expired, first-time home sales plummeted by a third. we know there's a sense that even the stimulus is not producing the jobs that it was promised to. 9.5% unemployment now. original reporting is it would keep unemployment with stimulus at 8%.
here's politico writing -- let me put it up on the screen. while almost uniformly grateful for the financial windfall they enjoyed from the stimulus legislation, the democrats believe it wasn't sold well to the public and more needs to be done to revive the lagging economy. the bottom line is they're not seeing the jobs that should have come with it. why voters in his state were dissatisfied with the massive spending bill. we are protecting government or really estimating the economy? >> let's look at it. the quarter before -- the two quarters of economic growth that we had before the president came to office, our economy was contracting by 6%. now we're growing by 3%. david, i'm not here to unfold the commission accomplished banner. we have a lot of work to do. the president understands that and we're working every day to increase small business lending to make sure that we don't lay off teachers and firefighters that we know are essential in what we do every day. but the president is going to lay out a choice.
look back to where we came from and look back forward to where we're going. by any definition of that, we know what happens. we know policies that led us into a financial clamdy. not paying for programs this government wanted to start and a future orientated growth agenda that president instituted. we had to make tough choices. it's understandable that people are frustrated. we lost 8.5 million jobs. it's going to take some time to fix. david, we think if you look at where we were and where we are, you say that employment is flat. we've created 600,000 private sector jobs in the first six months. we were losing 700,000 to 800,000 jobs a month a short time ago. no doubt things are getting better. the economic recovery is no doubt fragile.
the president and his team will continue to strengthen that and we've got a long, long way to go. we think if you take a look backwards and look forward, there's no doubt that we're on the right path. >> how much of what happened over the previous eight years is something that's still legitimate to consider? when do you have to own what you've tried and what you've accomplished? >> there's no doubt we have the responsibility for fixing the mix. as the president said, don't drive the car into the ditch. don't drive the car into the ditch and now want the keys back because we know how you drive. we understand what got us there. the president has had to make a lot of tough decisions. the car is out of the ditch. the car is back on the road. the question is do you give the keys back to the republicans and let them drive it back into the ditch again. >> it seems you have democrats trying to localize these races. they're worried about running with the president in a midterm race. "the wall street journal" reported on friday a bit about that localizing strategy. let me put it up on the screen.
the effort to shift voters' attention away from washington is designed to prevent republicans from turning the fall elections into a national referendum on president obama and democratic leaders in congress. democrats are trying to turn each race into a unique one-on-one matchup between local candidates. and yet here's a president who achieved health care reform on the brink of achieving financial regulation. do you think it's an unwise strategy for democrats to try to separate themselves from the president, from democratic leaders in washington? >> let's take financial recovery as something again we can look backward and we can look forward. john boehner, who would be the speaker of the house if the republicans took the house back over, last week equated the wreckage that was left as a result of the financial calamity to an ant. the president made tough decisions that we have a financial reform bill a wall street reform bill that puts in place the strongest rules we've had since the great depression and almost uniformly you have
republicans in the house that said no. that's a great issue both on a national and local level for people to go to their constituents and go to their voters and say do you think the rules that we had in place in september of 2008 that caused this financial calamity we should have those rules in place or new tough rules -- >> you're making the case but the issue at hand is you have democrats saying let me try to keep my distance from the national party and from the president. is that unwise? >> no. look, a man far smarter than me said all politics is local and having worked on a number of races, i think that's the truth. but there's no doubt that there are obviously larger national issues, financial recovery being certainly one of them, whether it is the investments that had it to be made short-term that created jobs and had this economy moving in the right direction, positive growth, adding jobs in this economy versus looking backward or a financial reform that solidifies for wall street the rules that
we had that caused this mess or put rules in place that finally once and for all put main street in the driver's seat and not at the whims of wall street. >> on a lot of the issues you face right now from the oil spill to the economy to the war in afghanistan, is the president and his team falling short or are we in a situation where expectations were set too high? >> that's a good question. i think on either one of these things the time frame -- the time frame on a war in afghanistan, we've been in afghanistan for almost ten years. the president has obviously added a number of new troops both at the beginning of 2009 and certainly last winter and those troops are coming in. this is always going to take some time. we knew it would take some time. sometimes the time for afghanistan or time for financial recovery may not perfectly lineup with the 2010 elections and we understand
that. people are frustrated. everybody is frustrated. the president is frustrated that we haven't seen greater recovery efforts, but that doesn't stop us from doing what we know is right. instituting policies that we know will bring this country back and put it on a pathway forward that lets our economy grow or creates stronger security for our country. >> a few quick ones on the economy. will you let the bush tax cuts expire creating in effect a tax hike on americans? >> the president is not going to in a time of economic crisis raise taxes on the middle class? >> he will not let them expire for the middle class but for wealthier americans? >> for those that weren't asking for them when they got them and didn't necessarily need or deserve them, they won't have their tax -- >> will congress take this up before the fall elections? they suggested they would put it out? >> i don't know what congress' schedule is. i know what the president has in mind. for mid class americans who have bore the brunt of this economic
calami calamity, we won't raise taxes. >> what the capital gains tax? would the president like to see it stay at 20%? >> that's part of the discussion we have to have to make sure in a fragile economic time we don't choke off any recovery. >> the housing mess is still a mess. the mortgage market is still in a lot of trouble. as i mentioned, first-time home buyers sales fell off a third after the government stopped propping it up with the first-time tax credit. mortgage modification highly tauted by this administration proved unsuccessful. and now fannie mae and freddie mac guarantee 90% of the mortgages in this country and have yet to be reformed and one of the president's top economic advisers is the largest critic of those two companies. what's the plan to deal with what's the heart of the financial crisis?
>> in a hard economy, it is difficult in any sense to create a program that helps somebody stay in their house if they're losing their job, right? we're working on both keeping people in their houses -- again, those that should be in their houses. no doubt there are people that got loans over the course of this economic boom that ended in bust that quite frankly shouldn't have gotten loans, right? those are not the people the president wants to protect. those making their mortgage payments is what the president is working on. when it relates to fannie and freddie you hear from republicans in congress that this is no doubt something that has to be reformed. the secretary of the treasury and our economic team are working on that. that will be the next step in financial reform once we get the legislation through congress but getting that legislation through congress is a massively important step in that financial recovery. you hear republicans in congress
say i can't be for that because it doesn't include fannie and freddie. well, we're going to reform fannie mae and freddie mac as you said we have a very volatile housing market and we have to do that in the right way. that's not an excuse not to leave in place the rules that brought us this financial calamity. democratic and republican candidates will have a great debate about that. >> can he focus like a laser beam on the economy if he haven't focused in on the housing problem. you have agencies that take on guarantee 90% of the mortgage debt and you're still not reforming them. >> again, there's a process that's under way to do that. understand in a fragile economy and certainly as you mentioned a fragile housing market, we can't do everything at the same time. we put in place a financial recovery plan that is growing the economy and adding jobs. we're on the verge of passing financial reform, which will put new rules in place and the next step of that will be reforming fannie and freddie. >> big story this week was
russian spy swap. a lot of americans saying what a thrilling story out of a spy novel itself. and it seemed like the priority here was u.s./russia relations. the question outstanding is what kind of threat does russia pose with its espionage against the united states? >> let's step back for a second and understand that i think this is a great credit to our law enforcement. we made arrests, law enforcement community made arrests. these individuals have been monitored for quite some time. they tried but they never got classified information and intelligence. and now they've left the country, which again is a big win for our law enforcement community. i set that aside. i think our relationship with russia is no doubt improving if you look at where it was just a few years ago. the economic discussions that
were had recently and progress made in reducing nuclear weapons and hopefully we'll get a treaty through senate this summer that will further reduce nuclear weapons means our security is stronger and safer and our relationship is stronger. >> more broadly on foreign policy. i can remember back two years ago as you can july of 2008 the president giving a major foreign policy speech in berlin. still a candidate and yet really well received. this was in effect an attempt to show the world a new face of foreign policy that would happen under president barack obama. and yet as the president tried to do a 180 from bush foreign policy, you find how difficult it is. the promise to close down the prison at guantanamo bay but it's still open. the afghanistan war is not scaled down. it's been escalated. this administration upheld the state secret exemption in pursuit of terrorists legally.
there's abandon plans to put khalid shaikh mohammed in front of a civilian trial. same strategy in iran basically. >> we have the toughest sanctions on north korea that we've ever had. >> same strategy. >> same strategy. >> we have strongest sanctions regime on iran that has ever been in place and go back -- >> same strategy as the bush administration. >> let's go back to the bush administration. you brought this up. i know the next panel will say i blame this on the bush administration -- >> can i just finish, is it harder to do a reversal from bush foreign policy than you originally thought? >> you greatly oversimplified it. ask ed gillespie and any of the folks you have right now if in september of 2008 or october of 2008 or november of 2008 whether china and russia were going to
come onboard for strengthening sanctions against iran. the answer to that would be a flat no. you wouldn't have gotten to the security council because you would have had two countries raise their hands to veto this. this coalition has strengthened our sanctions regime on south korea. we have better relationships with virtually every country in the world as a result of the president's foreign policy outreach. we're reducing nuclear weapons in this world that we know can cause the type of calamity whether they were accidentally launched or fell into the hands of a terrorist. there's no doubt that we have taken foreign policy in a different direction. we have improved relationships with countries but not just as a means to an end. that's actually making our country safer and more secure as a result. i think you greatly oversimplified sort of what the president was trying to do because the things that he's instituted couldn't have been done in the last administration.
>> those are accurate issues. i didn't misstate any of those, did i? >> i think we had an interchange on north korea and iran because, again, whether you go through the same strategy, it is not necessarily what is at case here. and that is we have built -- the president has taken a different strategy with iran. he said to the world i'm happy to discuss iran with iran if it will come to the table and live up to its obligations. that's what brought the chinese and russians to the table at the united nations. that's what showed the world that it wasn't anything that had to do american or ally aggression toward iran. it was that iran was hiding a secret nuclear weapons program. if iran is unwilling in front of the world to discuss that as the president invited them to do, it becomes clear to everyone in the world that this is an iranian secret nuclear program and that's why everyone is at the table and that's why we have the
strongest sanctions regime on iran we ever had. >> two final points. i want a prediction on the political debate. is the house in jeopardy? the majority for the democrat in the house in jeopardy? >> no doubt there are a lot of seats that will be up. a lot of contested seats. i think people are going to have a choice to make in the fall, but i think there's no doubt there's enough seats in play that could cause republicans to gain control. there's no doubt about that. it will depend on strong campaigns by democrats and we have to take the issues to them. do you want to put into the speakership of the house a guy who thinks that the financial calamity is tadamount to an ant? joe barton started his congressional testimony of the ceo of bp by apologizing not to the people in the gulf but to the ceo. i think that's a perfect window
not into what people are think but the way they would govern. joe barton, john boehner, you'll hear that from the president and local candidates of what you'll get if republicans gained control. >> perhaps an issue easier to pin you down on. another showdown potentially with lebron james. don't know if you heard but lebron james is going to the miami heat and is leaving cleveland. when he spoke to espn on thursday, this is what he said about the president's game. he said i think president obama would hold his own if they went one-on-one. i've seen him shoot the ball. he's a lefty. pretty much all lefties can shoot. might we see a one-on-one showdown at the white house since james disappointed the president by not going to chicago? >> he disappointed people in ohio, disappointed people in chicago. look, i can only imagine if the president had an opportunity to play against lebron james, he would take it. i don't know that we would make the game public or the outcome
or the score public because let's just say somebody who is 6'8" starts with an advantage that is hard for the president to make up. >> we can agree and the world can agree we have spoken enough about lebron james this week. robert gibb, thank you very much. appreciate it. coming up next, decision 2010. more on the key races and key debates. the economy, energy and national security. our round table weighs in on it all. msnbc's rachel maddow, harold ford, david brooks and ed gillespie. plus our "meet the press minute." a look inside the spy games of the cold war era. ♪ [ deb ] people don't just come to ge capital for money. they come to us for help. at ge capital, we've been financing taylor guitars for over eight years, helping them build a strong dealer network. bringing music to people... i like that.
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chair of the leadership council former congressman harold ford jr. and rachel maddow and "the new york times" columnist david brooks. i spent a lot of time on politics with robert gibbs. the president is out there. it's october in july here. and he made the case, made the distinction between republicans and democrats and the choice that voters face. this is him on thursday. >> they've got that no philosophy. the you're on your own philosop philosophy. the status quo philosophy. a philosophy that says everything is politics and we're just going to gun for the next election. we don't tear whcare what it me the next generation and they figure if they keep saying no, it will work for them and they'll get more votes in november. >> david brooks, how did the
pitch work? >> i think the question people ask at elections like this, are you better off? a month ago i thought people were feeling okay we're coming out of this. last month real deterioration in public mood. the second question unique to this moment is people sense china and india are passing us and may pass us by so they want to know how we made life better for the next generation. i have talked to candidates who are using the phrase we're more in debt and we have nothing for it. so that anger over the long-term future of the country underlines the short-term recession. >> and, rachel, as i point out to robert gibbs, the president is saying, look, judge me on my record. if that's the case, sharon engine running against harry reid in nevada, is doing just that. this is a portion of the ad that she's running now.
>> could she try using more ominous music? >> there's no sharon angle in this ad. it looks like sharonangle.com is a website for music. what the republicans are trying to do is trying to make this a referendum on the democrats and on president obama and harry reid and people on power and what democrats are trying to do is make this a choice. obviously anybody who is unhappy about anything in the country you would hope would turn it into a vote against the party in power. the democrats have their work cut out for them. keep talking about john boehner and sharon angle and not absence of harry reid but as someone with interesting policy positions of her own. >> ed gillespie, how much of a
liability are statements like sharon angle's talking about the bp fund as a slush fund. how much liability is that? you hear how robert gibbs and president are using particular people as that choice. >> the more they talk about distractions the less they talk about jobs and economy and debt and spending which is what people are focused on. they look political. the president said they're all politics all the time. the president is all politics all the time. one of his biggest problems in his approval rating is he lost the post-partisan at trtribute his election. we have unemployment at 9.5%. they said it wouldn't go above 8. we have $1.4 trillion deficit. $13 trillion in debt doubled since they came in and triple it in ten years. that's their problem. people are concerned about that. they're concerned about the economy. every time they talk about joe
barton or rnc chairman or john bain air tacking those folks by name, they're not talking about things that americans want to talk about and hear about. >> harold? >> i think two things. one, i was in the house when democrats were in the minority and we used the language take back the majority. most americans didn't recall 6, 10, 12 years before. they wanted a pro-active positive message. democrats have to be careful of talking about the past. if we can't to draw the position between george bush and barack obama, one of the great short comings of president bush was he wasn't flexible. president obama can't be inflexible when it comes to debt. i hope they offer ideas before september. he ought to extend the tax rates around capital gains and dividend taxes for the simple
reason you don't want to spook investors or spook the markets anymore which obviously will have an impact on job creation which could increase unemployment if we don't do it the right way. finally, politics is politics. there will be back and forth and american people expect some of that the white house should be aware of one thing. jobs, jobs and jobs is the only number that will matter between now and november. >> people don't feel they're getting better, my party will have a problem at the polls. >> if there's an anti-spending thing going on -- >> that's my point. >> the point is what democrats are facing is. democrats face two different challenges in addressing one could make the others worse. independent voters are turning on them but democrats are suffering from a lack of enthusiasm from their core supporters. the dilemma is that arguments might motivate partisans may
alienate the less independents. >> republicans can argue about how it is all about spending and debt. but it's not just talking about the past to say when republicans have had the reigns, this is what they have done. two wars not paid for. prescription drug benefit not paid for. tax cuts that benefited the rich not paid for. they put that stuff on the deficit. $1.3 trillion sitting in a deficit when obama took over after the previous democratic president handed them a surplus. if republicans want to run as a fiscally responsible party, that's neat but not novel. >> i spoke to senior republicans this week in the party who said sometimes we're afraid we take the majority back because are we as republicans in a position to offer a policy for how to grow the economy? to offer real policy to create jobs? there's a lot of fear out there that they don't have great alternatives at the moment to be able to do that. >> i agree with that. i'm scared myself. you look at what's happened in
britain. the conservative party took over after a long period out of power. they have a real austerity program. they are putting the country in much worse debt shape than us on a long-term path to fiscal sanity. i'm not sure the republicans are ready there. i'm nervous about that. the question people will ask is what is president obama offering and are we satisfied with that? they're not getting that. to me the big picture is if larry hopkins came back and said i'm going create a perfect liberal moment. we'll have a big financial crisis caused by wall street sort of. we'll have the biggest natural disaster in american history caused by an oil company. we're going to have a very talented democratic president. we're going to give him money to spend to create a lot of programs and after that it's still not a liberal moment, it's a conservative moment, that makes me think liberalism won't sell at any moment. if it's not selling now, it won't ever sell. >> isn't this a conservative moment? >> i think there's a great
opportunity for conservative policies and i think the public is open to hearing from us on that. i disagree with david. in new jersey and virginia, we have two republican governors just elected. one in a purple state and one in a deep blue state who are acting on what they said they would do governing as they campaigned. gove governor christie is taking on plea unions there. we'll govern as we said we would. i think harold pointed to these rising capital gains taxes and dividend taxes. you can call them tax increases on the wealthy. most will say it's tax increases on investment at a time when we need to create jobs. they'll kick in january 1, 2011, republicans will say we'll keep them in place until the economy is growing again and most americans reject the motion that spending equals jobs. >> i think most americans also
understand the basic arithmetic when you talk about pushing tax cuts that benefit the wealthy and getting tough on the deficit you are talking about it doesn't work the way most people think it works. harold, as a democrat, you proposed some very significant tax cuts when you were thinking about running for senate in new york. huge corporate tax cuts. big payroll tax holiday and then said we have to get serious about the deficit. tax cuts hurt the deficits. >> payroll tax cut in order to pay down the debt you have to do two things. you have to get spending in order and you have to grow. when bill clinton was in office, the real advantage we had was that the economy grew. they made some tough choices around spending. i was in congress for a good part of that. the same time we had this i.t. explosion and growth in the country which created millions of jobs. my only point is if you cut payroll tax to small businesses, you keep money in those communities. if you want a stimulus cut payroll tax at the hardware store, cut the payroll tax at
a -- >> if you want a stimulus, do what's proven to work which is extending unemployment benefits, which is something that republicans are -- >> you wrote about this this week. what do you do now when there's a debate about reign in spending, deal with the deficit in a serious way the president says he'll do that over the next couple years, and the additional need for stimulus. look at what's happening around the country in state budgets and cutbacks, a debt of over $400 billion. you have governor paterson in new york say depressions around t the country will look like a depression. the cuts to social services are drak evconi draconian. >> you don't fine tune fiscal policy to create recessions. we have $1.5 trillion in debt now. you don't spend more than that. you don't cut right now at this
moment. there's some moderate things you can do that are sensible. one, extend unemployment insurance. that's an insane way to start a budget debate. many people are unemployed. give them money to survive for another few months. we don't need state budgets to be contracting at this moment. tell the states if you give us a long range plan for fiscal sanity, we'll give you money right now. that would be a sensible thing to be done. it won't happen because the political culture in washington is sick and extending unemployment insurance we had gridlock because neither party was willing to give anything. these are sensible things to be done in an ideal world. will they be done in this world, not likely. >> i want to go back to the math. we had 52 months uninterrupted job creation. the problem wasn't lack of revenue but still remains today too much federal spending and this administration is not addressing that. the other problem in terms of the economy, if you're an
employer, how are you going to hire right now when you don't know what the impact of you on this health care mandate is going to be and cost on premiums? how will you hire if you're not sure if there's going to be increased cost of energy. how will you hire if you don't know if you have financing if you're a small business owner? how do you invest when you think capital gains will go up and dividends will go up and if you're a small business owner you'll get hit with a tax increase too. >> in the middle of this economic debate, i come back to the political question. what will democrats run on? you do have health care that's been passed. whether it's the right thing, that's a subject for debate. financial regulation appears it will be passed. this is not 1994 for democrats. republicans can't say nothing gets done. peggy noonan writes the president got his victory on health care but normally the press and public join effectiveness on legislative victories and whether he has the ability to get program through
congress. winning brings winning which increases popularity. president obama won on stimulus and detroit bailout and numbers float downward. he's not more loved with victory. his victories seem like victories for him and for his party and for his agenda but they haven't settled in as broad triumphs that illustrate power and competence. >> largely because people don't see job numbers and the economy improving for middle class people for small business owners. again, republicans aren't totally off the hook. rachel is right. i was there when medicare prescription drug bill passed. that's the largest entitlement we passed since introduction of medicare. the war was not paid for. when you become president, you can't argue the guy before you created problems and deserves no credit. t.a.r.p. was a george bush idea. people will look at today and the way you get more spending, you have to make concessions on deficit spending and make
concessions to the business community who at the end of the day without private market and private sector, we won't create enough jobs not only to grow or get us out of the mess we're in but keep up with population growth. you need a balance. cut deficit spending for the future. what they did in new jersey, i voted for jon corzine i might add, for him. i don't live in new jersey. i will protect teachers if teachers pay more for health care going forward. you need concessions. i think there's a climate in washington for that. if democrats including blue dogs and cbc members and hispanic caucus members come together with republicans, i think you can find a spending bill, a tax cut bill and one that makes some tough choices going forward on deficits. >> i want to get in here. i want to talk a bit about the war in afghanistan, which is such an important focus now. an important focus on this program and others including yours, rachel. you are just back from afghanistan.
it was very interesting as you went there, you went to afghanistan to pose two questions. you said does it make sense that the american military is still there? what is this ongoing war mean for fighting men and women who are there? we have a clip from your program and an interview. you posed an important question. >> i know this is a difficult question but if over the next year it doesn't work to establish better governance in kandahar, if the policing efforts, security efforts, don't combine to create enough space for afghan government to step up in a way that's working, i don't get the sense that there's a plan b. is there a plan b? is plan b just more time? >> there's no reason why this shouldn't be successful if the
afghans do their part. i mean, we have -- i've never meant an officer that didn't want more capabilities. i would never turn away more engineers or more military police, but we have enough to do what we have got to do in kandahar assuming that the afghans step up and do their part. >> if they don't? >> we will have given them the best chance they ever had. >> in another clip with richard engel where you walked around kabul talking about massive influx of u.s. dollars primarily into that country. let's show that. >> it can breed corruption having so much money injected into an economy. it was poor and isolated from the world except for last 30 years of war which was unpleasant interaction with the world for hundreds of years and now you have a totally different scale of economy coming in. billions of dollars a month.
this country never saw anything like that. >> it's going to people -- it's not going build the country. it is going to people with private armies and -- >> these streets are not even paved. that gives you an idea of how much the social services are spreading. >> right. you can see why the elites don't want the u.s. to leave and don't want the war to end. elites are doing awesome. >> you have come back. what did you conclude about our efforts there? >> the thing i felt most strongly was how humbling it is to be there alongside u.s. troops that are doing such unbelievably difficult work. the other thing is the point of what we're doing there is trying to establish an afghan government and afghan state that's hardened against terrorism so there isn't another 9/11 that comes out of there. we are spending $5.5 billion a month there. that does go into the pockets of a lot of warlords and bullies that strengthens the taliban's
case against the afghan government. and what's happening right now with the afghan government standing up in terms of security and other things they're doing is because they are expecting us to leave. that deadline looms very large not over the fighting with taliban but over the afghan government standing up. it's important they know we're going to go. >> finding the ideological fault lines here are difficult between left and right frankly. you had senator mccain make the point that a time line for withdrawal with the president committed to a year from now is forcing in many ways karzai to make side bets because the afghans have a long memory. the u.s. has cut and run before and don't think the u.s. is in it for the long haul so they're making other moves. >> his administration is divided on how firm that deadline is. he said we'll do it until we succeed. that's what general petraeus believes. the question rachel asked is the right question. i don't know the answer. whether the afghans pick up --
we're giving a lot of money to warlords but things through national solidarity program to villages and they have social structure. when you talk to the people that are there, there's disappointment there hasn't been more progress made on a village by village basis. maybe it's not working and even people like me who are strong supporters have to face the reality it's been disappointing. >> ed, you were counselor to president bush. president bush told people before he left office as difficult as iraq was, afghanistan will be that much harder. is it reasonable for any president to say we can fight this but only until a certain point? >> you end up undermining when you do that and there are two different perspectives here. you can say we don't say there's a hard deadline, they'll never get their act together and i would say if you put a hard deadline, then the bad guys will wait us out and the folks who you are hoping to assume power responsibility will be afraid to
make the tough decisions they have to make. that's the debate right now. i would like to see the president be more firm in saying we'll stay and get the job done the same way we did in iraq. it worked in iraq. i think it would work in afghanistan. it would be much, much harder. >> we have to leave it there. thank you all very much. up next, our "meet the press minute." this week one of the largest spy swaps between the u.s. and russia since the cold war. we'll take a look back at the spy games of that era and hear we'll take a look back at the spy games ofto stay on tophear of my game after 50,
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we're back with our "meet the press minute." nearly two decades after the end of the cold war, a spy swap between the u.s. and russia this week. ten russian sleeper spies arrested last month in the u.s. are traded for four russians accused of illegal contact with the west. 57 years ago former soviet spy elizabeth bentley appeared right
here on "meet the press" and talked about soviet espionage and her decision to break with the communists. >> our guest on "meet the press," ladies and gentlemen, is ms. elizabeth bentley, former soviet spy. >> can you explain how you got away with so much for so long and how others got away with it so long? are you clever or were we dumb? >> i would say it was a combination of the two. for one thing russia was considered our ally and presumably the intelligence people were concentrating on the germans. for another thing, i don't think americans in general knew much about communist espionage methods. they didn't expect that sort of thing and for another thing the communists worked very hard and took a lot of precautions to keep these methods sacred. >> when you went to the fbi, you said cold. what was your reception. were they surprised to see you? did they doubt your word or accept you as a bona fide spy?
>> i couldn't tell whether they believed or disbelieved because they were courteous but noncommittal. i was told about a month after i told them my story, one of them told me that they had been checking frantically and that they were amazed at the accuracy of it. >> they indicated they had no knowledge of your work before? was it all brand new to them do you think? >> they wouldn't have been likely to tell me that. >> you could tell by the express on their face couldn't you? >> they keep poker faces. >> three years after her deflection, bentley known as the wed spy queen, testified before congress and gave testimony of widespread espionage
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